BENDINELLI: Talk the straight talk



Ryan Bendinelli

Despite the catchy little title of my column, I think it has become apparent that over the course of this year I have become more conservative than when I started. I have no intention of apologizing. However, it has become pretty apparent that the hottest trends in politics these days are bipartisanship and compromise.

At the very least, this is what voters say they want. I have touched on the subject at times throughout this year. It is not an amazingly virtuous tactic, nor is it something we ought to crucify our representatives for doing. At times, bipartisanship is simply necessary to be able to accomplish anything. Sometimes it produces absolutely nothing. Sometimes it gives the people an acceptable solution.

Sen. Obama has cast himself as the one who can overcome partisan gridlock in Washington. He does not listen to lobbyists. He does not take money from oil companies. (For anyone who was wondering, no candidate is legally allowed to take money from any corporation. So, I am glad that Obama is adhering to the law). Obama wants the United States to know that he stands for change.

The fact that many parts of Sen. McCain’s record are unacceptable to many conservatives should clue the American public into who the real bipartisan choice is. Anyone who says that McCain would be a third term for George W. Bush proves his or her status as a liberal hack. Granted, that is coming from a conservative hack. Still, McCain has proven time and time again that he does not care for party politics. His record is so bipartisan that he was John Kerry’s first choice for a running mate in 2004.

McCain has been a leading advocate of environmental causes. He has offered plans to fight global warming. Unlike the two novices he could face in the general election, McCain has spent his career working across party lines to produce legislation. Generally, the legislation angers conservatives more than liberals.

Meanwhile, Obama’s resumé is best summarized by a memorable speech at the Democratic Convention in 2004 and stating public opposition to the war in Iraq while he was in state government. He claims that his lack of experience in government is trumped by his superior judgment. Unfortunately, Obama cannot even point to a moment with real consequences where he has shown that.

Many of the criticisms of McCain stem from his opinions on Iraq. McCain attacked the Bush administration’s handling of Iraq earlier in the war. However, McCain was one of the chief advocates of last year’s troop surge that helped stabilize parts of the country. He has made it clear that his first priority is the safety of U.S. soldiers. However, he also understands the very real problem that would be created by leaving the country without a degree of stability.

Some say McCain does not care for the well-being of the troops. Those who are willing to make that claim are at best uninformed. McCain’s son recently returned from a tour in Iraq. He chooses not to speak of this for his son’s safety and also because he would rather not gain political advantage from his son’s courage.

For the party-line Democrats, McCain is not an appealing choice. This is understandable, as he was not appealing to Republicans either. McCain was able to wrap up the nomination mostly by winning primaries that allowed independent voters to participate. McCain is the Republican nominee. In truth though, McCain is the candidate independents have been waiting for. Obama may give beautiful speeches about changing the way that Washington works, but McCain has made a career doing just that. If America really wants a candidate who overcomes partisan divides, then McCain is the real candidate to fill that gap.


Ryan Bendinelli is a senior political science major from Millington, N.J. He can be reached at [email protected].